Hi all, my name is Mr Ward and I’m the class teacher for 6W.
So far this year, 6W have had a great start to their final chapter with us at St. Francis’. As my first class during my time with St. Francis, I have been delighted with the way in which they have welcomed me as part of the school community. They all have a fantastic approach school life, from curricular to extra-curricular activities, showing confidence and development in their personal and academic lives. Throughout their time with myself, and indeed the rest of year 6 as a collective, the children have been able to explore the curriculum in a new and exciting way – exploring the impact they have on the world as individuals and as a part of the Catholic community of St. Francis through: Building the Kingdom.
Building the Kingdom and its associated themes allow the children to discover new and exciting ways to apply their Christian Values, not just to their school community, but the wider community beyond the school gates and the world as a whole. This approach has been well received by the children, with them actively seeking ways to apply their social awareness to all areas of our curriculum.
Building the Kingdom Focus: Dignity of the Human Person.
Key text: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – John Boyne (2006).
The term began with an immersion activity, during which the children were able to participate in a range of activities to help them better understand the significance of their focus for the term.
Alongside children from the rest of year 6 and year 5, they learned about injustice in society through a very ‘hands on’ manner; through re-enactments, drama and practical activities.
One of the main focus activities, was to allow half of the phase three (years 5 and 6) children to wear their own clothes, meanwhile, the remainder of the phase were told to remain in their school uniforms. This rationale behind this decision was not explained to the children, however, sought to allow the children to understand how injustice can be in front of our eyes without realising.
Through reading their key text, in line with activities and lessons centred on the book – The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, the children were able to draw on their experiences from the immersion activities and make links to the theme of injustice with the story.
Building the Kingdom theme: Preferential Option for the Poor and Vulnerable.
Key text: Rooftoppers Katherine Rundell (2013).
The focus for this term, in line with the Building the Kingdom theme the children focussed on the topic of homelessness.
Children were shown two images of properties which appeared to be from contrasting areas and highlighted the wealth divide. The simple question was proposed to the children of whether or not these were from the same area – to which the vast majority stated ‘no’ when in fact, they were both from Birmingham. This stimulus allowed for great class discussions and debates around the chosen theme. The theme of the poor and vulnerable, helped the children to make links to the main character of the key text, a vulnerable young girl, with societal pressures surrounding her social class and how they could have experienced homelessness, if she were not found by a kind stranger.
This story and its associated Building the Kingdom theme penetrated every element of our curriculum this term; with children independently making links to Religious Education, Geography, Science and all other subjects.
World Religion Week
Throughout ‘World Religion Week’, the children of year 6 explored the Islamic faith and its associated customs and traditions. They were able to engage with a variety of curricular activities, including visiting the local community mosque. The children were very respectful and listened carefully to different ways in which Muslims had similar beliefs to Christians. They explored the prayer halls and where Muslims ensure they are clean before prayer. They had the opportunity of looking at Islamic religious artefacts in school, interacting with and investigating their use. Confidently, some of the Muslim children within our school community were able to share extra information regarding their religion and how it shapes their personal lives.
This was a brilliant way for the children to build their understanding of a world religion which has such close links to our local community, in addition to opening themselves up to learning and acceptance of differences between one another in society.
We look forward to the rest of the academic year and exploring the exciting new topics and themes to come.